How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Windows or Mac

Although computer keyboard shortcuts can help speed up workflow and allow more efficient time management, sometimes they can slow you down. This usually happens if they conflict with app-specific shortcuts or simply don’t conform to your preferred keyboard ergonomics. Let’s show you how to disable the traditional shortcuts on your keyboard whether you’re on a Mac or PC

How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Windows or Mac

How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Windows PC

It’s a common misconception that you can’t disable keyboard shortcuts on Windows. In reality, it only takes a few clicks to turn them off. This way, you’ll never accidentally open the Start menu or minimize your window when all you wanted to do was press Control+Z (Ctrl + Z) for undo.

You can disable these shortcuts in several ways:

(a) Changing Windows Settings Through the Local Group Policy Editor

The Microsoft Local Group Policy Editor is an administrative tool that allows group administrators to set policies and enforce them on users throughout a given network. It allows them to override Windows’ default settings and make changes to things like startup apps, network security, or even the size of the recycle bin.

Most importantly, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable all keyboard shortcuts on windows. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the “Search” icon in the bottom left corner.
  2.  Type “edit group policy” and then hit Enter. This should open the Local Group Policy Editor window.
  3. Click on “User Configuration” and then select “Administrative Templates.”
  4. Select “Windows Components” from the “Administrative Templates” submenu.
  5. Click on “File Explorer.”
  6. Double click on “Turn off Windows Key Hotkeys” in the right-hand pane. This should launch a popup window where you can turn off keyboard shortcuts.
  7. Click on “Enabled,” select “Apply,” and then click on “Ok” to save your new settings.
  8. Close the Group Policy Editor window and reboot Windows to effect the changes.

After restarting windows, all Windows hotkeys will now be unavailable.

Although this method is intended for large computer networks in a corporate or group setting, it also works perfectly for single-user desktops. You can reverse the changes and enable shortcuts by following the steps above and selecting “Disabled” or “Not Configured.”

That said, editing the Local Group Policy is a high-risk exercise that should be carried out with utmost care. If configured incorrectly, the Local Group Policy Editor can cause permanent changes that may have unintended results when using Windows. For example, it may result in network errors or an inability to use File Explorer.

(b) Using the Registry Editor

You can also disable keyboard shortcuts by tweaking the registry. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Run box by pressing the Windows+R keys.
  2. Type “regedit” in the text field and hit enter. This will open your system’s Registry Editor.
  3. Locate the following key in the left-hand pane:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer
  4. Right-click on the empty space in the right-hand pane and then click on “New.”
  5. Select “DWORD NoWinKeys” from the dropdown menu.
  6. Rename the entry. Although Windows will automatically suggest a name for the new entry, you should go with a name that gives a clue about what the entry is. For example, you could go with “NoKeyShorts” or “NoWinKeys.” This can prove helpful later on when you want to reverse the changes made.
  7. Set the value of the newly created entry to 1.
  8. Close the Registry Editor window and then restart your system.

After restart, all Windows keyboard shortcuts will have been turned off. You can try executing one or two to confirm.

However, you should always exercise caution when tweaking the registry. Essentially, it’s the engine Windows runs on, so if something goes wrong with it, you might find yourself in a situation where your PC won’t even start.

How to Disable Keyboard Shortcuts on a Mac

Every Mac user’s worst nightmare is using the wrong keyboard shortcuts and accidentally deleting a file, losing their notes from an important meeting, or something equally as frustrating.

Numerous MacOS applications come with their own shortcuts, which can conflict with the traditional MacOS shortcuts and create confusion.

But as in Windows, Mac allows you to disable any keyboard shortcut you don’t need. And instead of only allowing you to execute a “blanket” change designed to disable all shortcuts at once, MacOS allows you to turn them off one at a time. This can allow you to get rid of the shortcuts that are giving you problems and retain the rest to speed up your workflow.

 Let’s see how this works:

  1. Open “System Preferences” by clicking your Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Select “System Preferences.”
  3. Select “Keyboard” from the list on the left side of your screen.
  4. Click on “Shortcuts” in the list of settings across the top of the window.
  5. Once inside “Shortcuts,” uncheck the box next to each shortcut to disable it.

Don’t Let Pesky Shortcuts Slow You Down

Are there shortcuts that have been giving you problems on Windows or Mac? Have you tried to disable them through any of the methods discussed in this article? We’d love to know about it.

You’re welcome to share your experience in the comments section below.

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